Story last updated at 1:25 p.m. Thursday, November 14, 2002

Forum a good start
How fortunate we are to live in a community that will turn out in full force to discuss an issue of importance to all of us. Homer townsfolk did just that on the evening of Oct. 29 for a forum that was held on violence among school-age children. Our greatest treasures, our children, are at increasing risk in these complex times. They need us to stand behind them, direct and guide them and surround them with our love and concern.

During the planning of the event we hoped that representatives of many professions, interest groups and age groups would attend. We believed that only through diversity of perspectives and opinions would we be able to begin a meaningful dialogue. That night, as people streamed through the doors of city council chambers, we greeted teens and elders, principals, ministers and carpenters, parents of children young and old, politicians and therapists, business owners, loggers and teachers alike.

In the discussion that followed, it became clear that no one had come to place blame or shrug off responsibility. The consistent theme was one of community intent on joining together to strengthen Homer's foundation, to focus on a climate of safety and of positive energy for our kids, realizing that the key lies in learning to communicate with each other, with those outside of our immediate circles, and most importantly with our youth.

Dialogue connects us as a community, and after the Oct. 29 meeting, I'm hopeful that the conversation will continue. Thanks to all who participated in this terrific beginning!

Barbara Meyer, Vessels of Hope